Business Enterprise Law Clinic
Client Success Stories
Norman Distribution, Inc.
The BELAW is an absolutely amazing platform for companies in need of legal work. They were always communicating and catering to our needs as a company. They never pushed us to make quick decisions. Moreover, the BELAW acted as if they were a ‘real’ law firm and took an interest in learning our business model and industry. The BELAW is an invaluable and advantageous program for a start-up corporation.”
Ryan Meczyk, Norman Distribution, Inc.
Norman Distribution, Inc. is a distributor of food products throughout the Chicago area. Started by three college friends who are now in their mid-20s, the owners were referred to the BELAW by a friend from college - a law student who was participating in the BELAW. When the BELAW was retained, the company had been in business for two years. Although the owners talked about entering into a shareholders agreement amongst the partners and knew it was important, they never got around to doing it.
ASAP Trainers, Inc.
Craig Bowman, a former college football player, stays in tip-top shape. In addition to his day job, Craig is a personal health and fitness trainer. Desiring to expand his business, ASAP Trainers, Inc., Craig engaged the BELAW to help him develop an independent contractor agreement. The agreement, along with a client release form, allows him to employ additional fitness trainers as his business grows. Craig is moving forward with developing a business model that will serve the corporate community’s employee fitness programs.
Harvest Time Café & Catering
The work of the law student/counselors was very professional and thorough. They understood my business and drafted documents that fit the business just right.”
Trudy Alston, Harvest Time Café & Catering
Evanston Community Media Center, Inc.
The BELAW received a call in the summer of 2012 from a member of Evanston Community Media Center, Inc., an Illinois not-for-profit corporation (a/k/a ECTV). ECTV is the public, educational and governmental cable television station serving the City of Evanston, Illinois. BELAW Director Michael Schlesinger was invited to the organization’s annual meeting to address two ECTV concerns: the service agreement between ECTV and the City of Evanston was expiring and legal assistance was needed to negotiate a new agreement, and ECTV’s bylaws were in disarray and needed to be redone. Over a period of 10 months, the BELAW worked with the president and treasurer of ECTV to successfully negotiate a new agreement with the city and completely revise the organization’s bylaws. The bylaws themselves presented challenges. A certain percentage of directors were elected by members (individual residents of the city, businesses and not-for-profit organizations operating in Evanston), who in-turn elected other directors, and three stakeholders, the city and two school districts each appointed a director. The revised bylaws were adopted by ECTV’s board of directors.
The law student/counselors and Professor Michael Schlesinger have been very responsive and kept us in the loop with what was going on. The law student-counselors were outstanding. They were responsive to our needs, took the time to meet with us and gain an in-depth understanding of the issues and worked to get an amicable solution for all parties involved. The students were driven and enthused, excited and engaged.”
Marlene Allen, Ph.D., Project Hope
Image of Perfect Designs
We met Kim Coy at an outreach event sponsored by the Apparel Industry Board, an organization that provides mentoring and training to Chicago fashion designers. A graduate of Columbia College, Kim established Image of Perfection Designs, and was facing challenges establishing relationships with boutique owners. The BELAW prepared a form of agreement for the consulting services Kim provides through her company, a purchase agreement for the sale of merchandise to boutique owners, and a custom work-order contract. The BELAW is expecting big things from Kim.
They were wonderful! And we appreciated everyone’s dedication and hard work. As a small, not-for-profit, it was very appreciated!”
Jenny Lamb, Lil' Buds
Julia’s Fishes & Loaves
Not satisfied with a successful commercial cleaning franchise, Carla Roberson, from Richton Park, wanted to make a contribution to the community where she was raised by her grandmother, Julia, in order to honor her memory. Carla noted that the Chicago residents of Roseland and Englewood did not have access to fresh foods, such as fish, fruit, and vegetables. With the assistance of the BELAW, Carla organized Julia’s Fishes & Loaves, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation seeking tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) organization and will be filing an application. Through Julia’s Fishes & Loaves, Carla is partnering with Domonicque Tatum, MSW, outreach specialist of the Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs, to utilize the veteran’s center at 7731 South Halsted in the Englewood Community. Carla says that the BELAW law student-counselors were “timely and professional.” Although the legal services were provided pro bono, Carla felt as if she was “paying a top-notch law firm.”
Live to Support
Originally, LTS Chicago had sought out the legal counsel of the Business Enterprise Law Clinic at John Marshall Law School prior to making some modifications to our current organizational structure which would have changed the way we would conduct business. After several conversations and due diligence on both ends, we decided the proposed changes to our structure would not be as beneficial as we may have initially thought. Once that was decided, the law student-counselors at the BELAW reviewed our plans and current client contracts. At that point, the law student/counselors went to work rewriting our contracts modifying the format and other language to better suit our needs. Working with Professor Schlesinger and the law student/counselors of the Business Enterprise Law Clinic at John Marshall Law School was an absolute pleasure. The value they were able to add to our business by providing legal expertise, counsel, and by amending our client contracts have been of immense benefit. Our business now evokes a more professional image with simplified contracts and written in easy to understand language. We have directly seen the benefits of the BELAW’s work as we are now receiving few requests to amend our contracts, because our clients are more comfortable with them as presented. Overall, the BELAW law student counselors were responsive, proficient and extremely knowledgeable regarding our industry and business in particular. The final product they delivered was professional, concise and provided all of the necessary provisions and protection we needed. Our company certainly intends to seek out the assistance of the BELAW in the future, because we trust them to address any of the legal needs we may require.”
Chris DuCharme, Live to Support
The purpose of these stories is to inform the public about the scope of the pro bono business and transactional legal services the Business Enterprise Law Clinic provides, and they should not be construed to suggest or guarantee a similar outcome in any other matter. Results depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter.
Business Enterprise Law Clinic
The John Marshall Law School
315 S. Plymouth Court
Chicago, Illinois 60604